System response to covid-19 Survey

System Response to COVID-19 Survey

To assess water and wastewater system’s response and experiences related to the first 4 ½ months of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Rural Water Association of Utah reached out to all of Utah’s drinking water and wastewater systems. 203 systems responded to our survey during the period of July 14 through July 28, 2020. Systems could respond anonymously if they wished.
The lessons learned during this opening period of response will be important so that the water and wastewater sectors may identify what worked and what might need to be changed as the response continues. Lessons learned also need to be incorporated into planning for future emergencies. The information will hopefully also assist our partners in response – state and federal agencies – in knowing how they can help support and assist this service which is so essential to our communities.

Data time frame: 07/14-07/28

Number of Responses

Count of Population Served

More than 10,000
Less than 500
500 - 10,000

Has your system had employees contract COVID-19?


How many employees contracted COVID-19?

of those that answered yes


Did the illness affect your operations?

of those that answered yes

3 Systems
8 Systems

Has your system experienced supply chain problems?


What items were you unable to access or secure?

Cleaning items, mainly items sewer crew uses like disinfectant wipes and Lysol spray.
Toilet paper and soap initially. Now just getting contractors to commit to pending jobs.
Wipes, hand sanitizer, auto parts
Tri-fold paper towels for dispenser
Some Contractor labor issues and parts and meters.
Slow lead times on most items now that stock is running out.
Parts and our contractors are behind on several project due to COVID-19
Plumbing parts and vendors supply chain disrupted and increase in costs
Sanitary Wipes
Lead times on supplies and materials have been impacted
We’ve just experience slow ship times.
Parts have been delayed in arriving.
Slow lead times on most items now that stock is running out.
Extreme delays in shipping items needed
Nitrile gloves, various repair parts
Wipes, masks, gloves other stuff has just been delayed
Plumbing parts and vendors supply chain disrupted and increase in costs
We ordered a sandblaster and due to Covid-19 it has been taking a long time to receive it.  We are still waiting on our order to be delivered.
Hand sanitizer
Gen supplies
Some Contractor labor issues and parts and meters.
1 1/2 and 2″ meters
Paper and cleaning products
Ammonia probe, hand sanitizer
Cleaning products
Longer lead times.  Chemicals and reagents for used in the lab.
Masks, sanitizer
Resetters and retro setters were delayed for over a month from when scheduled to arrive.
Cleaning items, sanitizer, and delay on shipped items.

Are you requiring your staff to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?


What safety measures have you implemented?

Face Masks
Hand Sanitizer
Taking classes online
Orange vests & safe steel toe boots
All that is required and available
Social Distancing
Safety Glasses
Spray Bottles
Separate vehicles


Have you had adequate amounts of PPE?


What items have been in short supply?

Gloves, Sanitizer, Cleaning supplies
No mention of any questions or concerns on what the company should be taking precautions on this virus
Masks early on.
At the beginning our stock run low and we had to find different resources and suppliers
N95 masks for sewer maintenance
Gloves, masks, sanitizer
Masks provided by employees – supplies not provided
Hand sanitizer
Masks, gloves and face shields
Mask and gloves
Hand sanitizers, gloves, towels, mask
Gloves and masks
Masks and sanitizer
We have no staff need no supply unm
Mask, gloves and face shields
Hand Sanitizers, gloves, towels, masks

Has your system participated in the RWAU/FEMA free mask distribution?


Has your system relaxed past due or shut off policies?


Have you seen a reduction in Revenue?

18 Systems
62 Systems

In what amounts have you seen a reduction in revenue?

A small amount. 
Small percentages.
People late on utility bills
many late bills and higher cost in supplies and contractor wages.
Not sure if these numbers are final but you can call Rich Knapp, Director of Finances for details at 801-525-2720
A small amount. 
We are a tourist based City, We have experienced 40% + in loss.
Not sure
More past due accounts.  5-10% reduction in revenue.

What changes has your system experienced in water demand?

Increase in Demand
Decrease in Demand
No Change

Has your system limited public access to buildings and offices?


Have you made any permanent changes to your operations procedures based on what you have learned?


What changes have you made?

Much more technology being used for communication. Even employees who never had a smart phone before got one. No more unnecessary meetings. And shut offs are almost to zero due to office staff reaching out and talking to residents.
Board meetings are held via internet meeting services such as Zoom, 2 field employees work outdoors only and have no contact with the public, the LDWA office is closed and all work is completed remotely through the internet.  It works perfectly for LDWA’s 1 staff employee.  Given there are only 3 part-time employees, we plan to continue remote meetings and administrative management.
Decrease in public meetings with customers.  Now us E-mail and voice telephone communication
Washing of hands always and when dealing with wastewater we are required to take further precautions
All employees and public must have their temperature taken prior to entry
safe cleaning sanitizes
Remote meetings, work from home.
Staggered start times and limited in office by operators.  Try to keep operators separated from each other.
Increased sanitation of offices and control room areas.
We have split personnel into different work groups with different shifts
Installed plexiglass and the front counter.
appointments have become mandatory, walk in traffic must wait.
Still working out these changes
Testing employees at start of shift.
Separation of operators’ schedules, vehicles, break times.
Glass at front desk
social distancing and proactive cleaning
Limit one customer at a time at the service counter.  Installed glass barrier at service counter.
no passengers in vehicles
Meetings, work trucks and building for operations
more opportunity for future distance/electronic meetings and training.
Disinfecting more
We have discouraged in-person payments at the office, masks when working within six feet of each other, regular disinfection of workspaces, PTO for anyone who feels sick and is checked by doctor.
Public access, shift modifications, cleaning
Sanitizing everything regularly.
Until this is behind us, masks will be required.
Masks, work at home if they can, avoid large groups, social distancing, etc.
More sanitary rules employees
Employees do not work the same days; we alternate until Summit County is in the green. They alternate. Customer service is only for emergencies.
social distancing and proactive cleaning
Employees who work within 6 feet of each other wear masks even outside.
Cleaning habits
social distance, face masks with customers
social distance
distancing & zoom meetings
The required social distancing between the cruise and all staff teacher to stay in their own work areas and not come mingle. I no longer have social events or other activities. No one is to come into the office without an appointment and they must wear facemasks and office crew must wear a facemask when people come into the office.
We have updated our emergency response plan to cover pandemics.  We are also developing a system of reaching out to other water systems and using board members to temporarily run our water systems should we have to self-isolate.
Completely separating staff into two groups to avoid the whole department getting sick at the same time.
Meetings, work trucks and building for operations
Updated parts of emergency response plan
split crews and only have one crew working at a time.
Made gas chlorination system operational.  Increased expenses by over $1000/month, a lot for a small system.
Operations are different for Pandemic responses, also visitation is very heavy.